A San Francisco Target security guard quit after 52 days on the job after he became abhorred at the rampant theft, abuse, and violent assaults that frequently occurred.
Rafael Gutierrez, 49, told Here Say Media he was also deeply concerned about Target’s company policy that prevented loss prevention from intervening in shoplifting or even protecting themselves and other co-workers.
“I've been working security for about 10 years,” the native San Franciscan told the media outlet in a video interview posted on Twitter. “I've been at Target only a month, and like three weeks, and I've seen it all the things I've never thought I'd see. I was told basically, shoplifting, we have to allow that. We cannot, we cannot take any items back from shoplifters, period. We got to let it go.”
The policy mirrors those at other retail outlets at San Francisco pharmacy chains and supermarkets. Employees, even those working in security roles, are told to “observe and report” rather than confront or get physical with shoplifters, many of whom are armed.
The problem has gotten especially worse with organized retail thieves targeting stores on a near-daily basis.
“Okay, what I wasn't told is that I was not able to protect myself,” Gutierrez added. “If my life is in jeopardy if I feel my life is in danger, I wasn't told that I couldn't protect a customer, or I couldn't protect a co-worker. Those are three things I wasn't told. I understand not stopping shoplifting. That’s fine, I can understand that. But what about if your life is in jeopardy, or your coworkers are. I have to be able to do something about that.”
“I made up my mind me and my wife talked about it,” he said. “So yeah, I've sent him my resignation. I can't do it anymore. I really can't for the simple fact that I can't risk my life.
Gutierrez said he resigned after discussing the matter with his wife.
“I deserve to walk the streets feeling safe,” he said. "Everyone does. Everyone deserves to go into a store and shop and feel safe. I don't feel safe.”
The state of San Francisco’s out-of-control retail theft problem has received swift condemnation from the business community.
“With the political climate here in San Francisco, there is almost an endorsement of the smash and grab,” Mitchell Marks, Professor of Management at the College of Business at San Francisco State University said in an interview with KTVU-TV, the FOX station in San Francisco. “The average citizen feels like the government no longer has their back.”
Target has cut back their hours of business at their San Francisco stores. They are only open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily to try and keep would-be thieves from hitting their stores during evening hours.
“Something that Target is doing is not closing stores but limiting the number of hours open, so more daytime hours when there's more traffic,” Marks said. “So that's one thing they can do but again it gets to the political climate. Target has been getting heaped lately from progressives, that they aren't doing enough for inner cities. Well, if they're going to open a store, and then the store is going to lose money that's not doing anyone any good, you know.”
Here Say Media stated it did not get a response from Target after reaching out to the corporation.